This section is from the book "British Wild Flowers - In Their Natural Haunts Vol2-4", by A. R. Horwood. Also available from Amazon: A British Wild Flowers In Their Natural Haunts.
So far this has not been found in any deposit earlier than the recent. It is a plant of the Arctic and Cold Temperate Zones, found in Arctic Europe generally, W. Siberia, and in North America. It is general in England and Wales, except S. Lincs, Mid Lancs, where it is absent. It does not occur in Scotland in Sutherland, Caithness, or any of the Northern Isles, but ascends in the Highlands to the height of 2800 ft., and is found in Ireland.
In the spring every wood and copse is carpeted with the dainty Wind Flower, which delights the poet, the swain, and the townsman alike. It prefers the sheltered flat expanses which are protected overhead from the sun's heat, and at the side by clustering shrubs or undergrowth. It is perhaps more fond of a dry than a wet soil, and some humus; but is found alike where the Lesser Celandine and Bluebell grow. In some secluded spots the woods are as white with Wood Anemones as a damask sheet, just as the same sylvan depths are blue in spring with the Bluebell or yellow with the Lesser Celandine. They are mesophytes, adapted to a moderate supply of moisture. The Wood Anemone, unlike most other plants, can flourish beneath the shade in a beech wood.
The Wood Anemone is a tuberous-rooted plant, or plant with subterranean fleshy shoots or creeping underground stem, which can be propagated by division of the roots which grow deep in the soil. It is a tender, fragile plant, which in the shade stands erect, with flowers wide open, but in the open, under a strong sun, it closes its flower and droops its head. This drooping of the flower is a character by which to recognize it.
The Wood Anemone is more or less prostrate in habit, with ascending or erect scapes. The rootstock or rhizome is woody and horizontal, giving rise to leaves and scapes. The leaves are few, radical, distant from the scapes, ternate or quinate, 3- or 5-lobed, stalked, the leaflets narrow, lobed and cut, or deeply divided, nearly stalkless, and the involucral bracts are the same.
The scape or flower-stalk bears no leaves but bracts, forming an involucre. The flowers are solitary, with 6 or 5-9 oblong, hairless, spreading sepals, which replace the petals, and are white, rose, or rarely purple. The stamens are all perfect. The achenes are downy, as long as the style, keeled not awned. The styles are short and straight.
Photo. J. H. Crabtree
Wood Anemone (Anemone Nemorosa, L.)
The Wood Anemone grows to a height of 3-4 in. Flowers may be seen from March to May. The plant is perennial.
As a rule there is no honey in the flower, but Van Tieghem found plants containing honey. Insects, moreover, may be seen trying to bite through the bottom (or top, as it is drooping and the bottom is at the top) of the flower, presumably to get at sweet sap, by aid of which they moisten the pollen, which is abundant, to facilitate its being carried away. The anthers and stigma are ripe at the same time. The flowers are erect when they first open, when it is sunny. They bend over in a drooping position at night and when rain falls. This protects the pollen or the honey in all such drooping flowers.
The sepals do duty for the petals. The stigmas are covered up in bud, and the stamens lie over them, but when the flowers open both are mature, and insects can touch either. They alight in the centre or on the sepals, and may touch anthers or stigma first, causing self- or cross-pollination. The drooping character of the flower also causes pollen to fall on the stigma.
Bees pierce the base of the flower and lick the pollen. The visitors are Hymenoptera of the genera Halictus, Osmia, Apis; Diptera, Scatophaga; Coleoptera, Meligethes.
The Wind Flower has the achenes dispersed by the wind, by the hairs, or by processes developed as a long awn or appendage, but not feathery, as in the Pasque Flower, to aid in dispersal by the wind.
The Wild Anemone, which dwells in woods, is fond of humus, requiring a humus soil which is partly peat, partly humus. It is not addicted to a lime soil as a rule.
A fungus, Urocystis anemones, forms irregular swellings on the stems and midribs of the leaves. Puccinia fusca also forms small blackish pustules on the leaves. The Anemone Sclerotinia, Sclerotica tuberosa, Plasmopora pygmcea, and Aecidium leucospermum also infest it.
The Scarlet Tiger, Callimorpha dominula and Adela degeerella are moths that feed on it.
Anemone was the name given it by Dioscorides, from the Greek anemos, wind, and the Latin nemorosa means "of the woodland". The English names in vogue are Bow Bells, Cowslip, Wood Crowfoot, Cuckoo-flower, Cuckoo-spit, Darn-grass, Drops of Snow, Enemy, Granny's Nightcap, Wild Jessamine, Moonflower, Neminies, Smell Foxes, Smell Smock, Soldiers, Undergrounds, Wind Flower.
" Doon i' the wild enemies."